The Gilded Ones, Namina Forna

A teenage girl with braided hair looks off to the side. She is wearing a gold outfit with gold weaved in her hair and gold marks on her face. It's a stunning image.


Why did I wait so long to read this book?! I bought it in a preorder, and it sat on my TBR shelf for far too long.

As this is so well-reviewed, I have little more to contribute to help others decide to read this (which they should.) I always read others’ reviews before writing my own, and I understand some criticisms. The training does go super fast, and that could have been explored more. Also, I agree that the characters could have been fleshed out a bit. But as the book progressed, so did the characters, and I loved this found tribe that Forna created.

Even though this isn’t labeled as such, this book has a dystopian-esque premise. There are a lot of directions that book two can take. Where this one has a few weaknesses leaves a lot of room for progression and improvement. Overall, the storyline is so fun that I can look past the issues that seem small to me in the grand scheme of the book. Forna had me addicted from page one, and I, for one, am super excited for The Merciless Ones.

The Gilded Ones is available on Amazon, Bookshop, and B&N.

About the Book

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.


Read and like this review on Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub.

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